Mark Cuban Talks WWE vs. New Japan Pro Wrestling

As New Japan Pro Wrestling continues to be featured more prominently on the AXS TV network, it has brought a new face into the wrestling industry: Mark Cuban.

The world famous businessman and owner of the Dallas Mavericks is also the chairman of AXS TV. The channel has been very pleased with the continued growth of their NJPW broadcasts on Friday nights, resulting in the network moving toward airing more recent NJPW shows to keep fans up to date on the recent storylines and matches. When NJPW on AXS TV started, the shows were nearly a year old and it was more or less a best-of broadcast. It's now getting closer to the point where you could actually follow the current product by watching the broadcasts.

Perhaps the best example that wrestling is becoming a more prominent part of the AXS TV programming is the fact that the channel will air this year's Toyko Dome show, WrestleKingdom 12, on Saturday, January 6 in a special three hour, Saturday night time slot. This will be just two days after the event airs live on the NJPW World streaming service, featuring Chris Jericho vs. Kenny Omega and Tetsuya Naito vs. Kazuchika Okada.

During an interview with Sports Illustrated, Cuban was asked about the channel expanding their New Japan coverage.

"We’re looking to expand it on Friday nights. We want to do more live, as opposed to the delay, and we’re talking to them about special events," Cuban said.

In regards to if Vince McMahon considers NJPW competition, Cuban said, "No, he thinks we’re just little sh—. We’re not a threat because of the language. That’s the biggest challenge, the language. But if you’re a purist for wrestling, and you like the action, it’s the best promotion by far. People here aren’t going to connect as directly, but if you really love wrestling, then it’s a no-brainer.”

AXS TV has also typically featured MMA fights, and Cuban noted that NJPW sometimes outperforms their highly featured MMA content. He also talked about moving to more recent New Japan content, including the special WrestleKingdom 12 broadcast in January.

"We’re getting to know them better,” said Cuban. “We went from a delay to a short delay to live, so we’re going to get smarter about it. The numbers keep on going up. Other TVs are declining, and ours are going up. That’s a good sign. There are some nights when it beats MMA, it’s doing that well.”

Photo: Wikipedia